Tier 2 Sponsor Penalties: Revocation, Suspension, Downgrade
Falling foul of the Tier 2 licence criteria is increasingly easy. The UK Visas & Immigration are policing the management of overseas workers with increased energy and a far more unforgiving scrutiny. As a result, the number of licence suspensions, revocations and downgrades is increasing. Operating a Tier 2 Licence is not only – as a recent court ruling insisted – a privilege, it is also one that is at all times contingent on a strict adherence to the letter of the law.
In such a highly pressurised climate it is easy to lose sight of the distinctions between those three penalties. Here is a very brief summary of what each means in practical terms.
Revocation means the absolute removal of an employer’s tier 2 sponsor licence. It is, in effect, the final, absolute penalty for a breach of the regulations. This penalty may be imposed on a mandatory basis if a clear and obvious transgression of the regulations has taken place, but it may also be applied on a discretionary basis. In other words, it may be imposed if UKVI consider that such a breach has taken place. Clearly the burden of proof is lower in this latter case.
Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Suspension usually precedes the decision to revoke a licence. In most cases a suspension will be imposed pending further enquiries into the activities of the business. The employer will be given the opportunity to make representations and supply evidence to these inquiries, and although they will be kept abreast of any such ongoing investigation, there is no set timeframe. Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Suspensions are thus fraught with uncertainty. In some cases a suspension will be applied as a direct penalty without the need for any investigation.
In some cases UKVI may elect to downgrade a Tier 2 licence from an A rating to a B rating. Again, there are conditions in which this is mandated, although it can also be applied at the discretion of UKVI officials.
In all instances the specific aspects of an individual case will determine which – if any – penalties may apply.
YDVISAS has team of specialist immigration lawyers. Please contact us, should you need any professional help with your sponsor licence matters.